DETROIT, MI - JUNE 7: Fans of the United States soccer team show their support prior to playing Canada during the 2011 Gold Cup at Ford Field on June 7, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. The United States won the game 2-0. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

USA Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011, Group C: Panama Defeats USMNT 2-1

Canada and Panama notched key wins in Gold Cup Group C play, as the United States lost in the group stages of the competition for the first time ever.

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USA Vs. Panama: Accepting Defeat, Then Assigning Blame, Then Moving Forward

The United States lost to Panama on Saturday, their first lost ever in the group stages of Gold Cup. It's a very meaningful result, and the U.S. soccer community, as a whole, has some work to do.


USA Vs. Panama Final Score, Gold Cup 2011: Panama Defeats USMNT 2-1

For the first time in the history of the competition, the United States has lost in the group stages of the Gold Cup. Though they just barely hung on at the end, for the first 60 minutes of the game Panama were the clearly superior team, and they were able to ride that superiority to a 2-1 victory, taking them top of Group C with six points.

The first goal of the game was credited to Luis Tejada, but it appeared that it may have actually been a Clarence Goodson own goal. In the 19th minute, following a free kick, an unmarked Eduardo Dasent put a header on target at close range, making it impossible for Tim Howard to direct his save. The USMNT keeper did well to just stop the shot, but the ball dribbled into the back of the net after it bounced in off the foot of either Goodson or Tejada.

Later in the first half, Tim Ream gave away a penalty when he hauled down Blas Perez in the box. Gabriel Gomez converted it to give Panama a 2-0 lead, and the United States were shell shocked. They went into halftime down 2-0, with Bob Bradley frustrated and everyone knowing they needed to make changes.

The same team came out of the locker room for the second half, but they didn't exactly come out with a different attitude and style of play. Panama still looked very comfortable to start the period, but the United States changed the game in the 60th minute when they introduced Alejandro Bedoya and Sacha Kljestan into the game.

In the 66th minute, a goal finally came for the United States as Clarence Goodson headed in a Michael Bradley flick off of a Landon Donovan corner kick. From that point on, the United States were the vastly better team as Panama went into full survival mode, but the second goal never came. Landon Donovan missed one great opportunity, while substitute Chris Wondolowski skied an absolute sitter, as the United States missed their opportunities to maintain their perfect group stage record.

Guadeloupe takes on the United States in the final game of Gold Cup group play, and anything but a win will be unacceptable for the USMNT. Their tournament is not over, but it's possible that both their potential seeding and their confidence have been adversely effected by tonight's events.


USA Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011: Clarence Goodson Goal Halves Panama Lead

The United States have finally brought one goal back, but they still have a lot of work left to do if they're going to maintain their all-time undefeated record in the group stages of Gold Cup. Central defender Clarence Goodson has scored with a header on the 66th minute, and Panama's lead is now 2-1.

In the 66th minute, Steve Cherundolo won a corner kick, which was subsequently taken by Landon Donovan. The LA Galaxy man hit an out-swinging corner to the near post, finding the head of Michael Bradley. He nodded the ball towards the far post where Goodson was waiting unmarked, and the big defender put a powerful header into the back of the net.

It appears that set pieces are the best way that the United States has to challenge the Panamanian goal, which isn't exactly a new development. The USMNT have always scored a solid percentage of their goals on dead balls, and they'll need at least one more goal to feel okay about tonight's result.


USA Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011: USMNT Makes Two Substitutions

The United States are starting to get desperate, as they've done nothing to cut into Panama's 2-0 lead after 15 minutes in the second half. As a result, Bob Bradley has opted to make two substitutions to change up his team, going a bit more attacking minded. Sacha Kljestan, an attack-minded central midfielder has replaced Jermaine Jones, a defensive-minded central midfielder, while winger Alejandro Bedoya has replaced striker Juan Agudelo.

That latter sub should move Clint Dempsey up into a second striker's role, something Bob Bradley has done on numerous occasions. Just a couple of minutes after entering the game, Bedoya was able to get involved, but not in a positive way. He went down in the penalty area, looking for a spot kick, but the referee made the correct decision by not granting the penalty and instead booking Bedoya for diving. Time is starting to run out on the United States, and they need their subs to make an instant impact.


USA Vs. Panama Score, Gold Cup 2011: Halftime, Panama Lead 2-0

It's all gone wrong for the United States in the first half of their Gold Cup match against Panama, and their opponents have a well deserved 2-0 lead. Central defenders Clarence Goodson and Tim Ream have impressed with their distribution when they have played recently, but their actual defending was terrible in the first half of this game, which explains the score.

Most expected the USMNT to get through this Gold Cup group with nine points in minimal incident, but after the first 45 minutes tonight, that appears to be incredibly unlikely. Unless, they can produce miracles in the second half, they will likely go to Kansas City with some serious pressure on against Guadeloupe.

The first goal came following a free kick and was practically gifted to Panama, as Eduardo Dasent was completely unmarked on the far post as he headed a cross on goal. Tim Howard made a save, but the ball was knocked into the path of Clarence Goodson and Luis Tejada, then deflected in by one of them. It appeared to be an own goal, but Tejada has been credited with the goal.

Tim Ream gifted Panama the second goal, taking down Blas Perez in the box with a terrible attempt at a 50-50 ball. Gabriel Gomez stepped up to take the penalty and converted, and that's why Panama has gone into halftime with a 2-0 lead.


USA Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011: Tim Ream Gives Away Penalty, Gabriel Gomez Converts

If you called this one, raise your hands. The United States now trails Panama by a score of 2-0 in the first half of their Gold Cup match, and it's hard to say that Panama's done it because they're lucky. They've been the better team, and as a result of their play, combined with some bad mistakes by the United States, they have a two goal lead.

The most recent goal came on a penalty kick, drawn by striker Blas Perez on USMNT defender Tim Ream. With a 50-50 ball up in the air, Ream made an ill advised kick towards the ball, across the body of Perez, while inside of his own penalty area. Perez did a bit of acting to win the call, but there's absolutely no doubt that Ream kicked Perez and that the referee made the correct decision in granting the penalty. Gabriel Gomez stepped up to take and absolutely drilled it into the back of the net, giving Panama the two goal advantage.


USA Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011: Terrible Defense Gifts Luis Tejada A Goal

Well that isn't the start the USMNT had planned. After 19 minutes of play, the United States trails Panama 1-0, thanks to some truly terrible defending. Following a free kick that appeared to bounce harmlessly off the wall, a cross was sent into the box that found the head of Eduardo Dasent. The defender was completely unmarked at the far post, and he put a header on target, forcing Tim Howard into a tough save. However, Howard could only just keep it out of the net and the ball ended up in the path of Clarence Goodson and Luis Tejada and was eventually deflected in.

It's unclear if it was Goodson or Tejada who got the final touch on the ball, but the goal is being credited to Tejada at this point of time. The marking by the United States was truly awful, and Bob Bradley will be seriously frustrated with his team after they allowed such an easily preventable goal. 


USA Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011: Clint Dempsey Half Volley Missed By Inches

Panama's defense looks solid in the early going against the United States, but they almost allowed Clint Dempsey to score a great goal on a set piece opportunity. After a corner kick deflected out towards the edge of the area in the 8th minute, Dempsey ran onto it and hit a fantastic half volley strike. Unfortunately for him, it curled just inches wide.

The USMNT has more of the possession in the early going, and they haven't allowed Blas Perez and company to get out in space on the ball. Much like the game against Canada, there's an obvious difference between the current Tim Ream-Clarence Goodson central defense pairing than any before it as far as distribution goes. Their ability to hold and pass the ball has been impressive, especially given the fact that Goodson's play on the ball was considered questionable when he first came into MLS years ago. As long as the US can keep possession, Panama will have a very hard time scoring.


Canada Vs. Guadeloupe, Gold Cup 2011: Canucks Win 1-0

It wasn't the prettiest performance in the world, but Canada did enough to get a win tonight in the Gold Cup, seriously aiding their chances at advancing to the quarterfinals of the competition. The fans - and no doubt the players as well - would have liked a more convincing victory, but three points is three points, and Canada walk away with a 1-0 win.

In the 4th minute, defender Jean-Luc Lambourde of Guadeloupe picked up a straight red card for a nasty tackle on Will Johnson, and it appeared at that moment that it would be an easy game for Canada. However, they failed to capitalize on their man advantage for the entirety of the first half and they walked into the locker room with the score a disappointing 0-0.

Canada would find their winner in the 51st minute, thanks to a penalty kick. In the 49th minute, Stéphane Zubar hauled down Ali Gerba in the box, and Canada was given a penalty. Dwayne De Rosario sent the keeper the wrong way and it would be the only goal Canada would need.


USA Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011: Lineups

Bob Bradley has made no changes to his United States squad to face Panama, much to the surprise of...absolutely no one. Though the USMNT was far from great against Canada, they put in a fairly solid performance and it's hard to argue with any of Bradley's current team selections. All of Panama's best players are on display, and they might be able to give the United States a challenge. Here are the lineups.

United States lineup: Howard; Bocanegra, Ream, Goodson, Cherundolo; Donovan, Bradley, Jones, Dempsey; Altidore, Agudelo

Panama lineup: Penedo; Baloy, L. Henriquez, Torres, Dasent, Gomez, Barahona, A. Henriquez, Cooper, Tejada, Perez

The combination at striker of Perez and Tejada should be able to cause some problems for the United States if they do not become too isolated from the midfield. Jones and Bradley will have the ability to control the middle and turn Panama into a long ball team, but if they do not succeed in that, this game could be a very close one.


USA Vs. Panama, Gold Cup 2011, Group C: Preview, Plus Canada Vs. Guadaloupe

Coming off of a solid, yet unspectacular win over Canada in the first game of their 2011 Gold Cup campaign, the United States will be looking to improve on their play and build momentum against a Panama side who has proven that they are equally dangerous and vulnerable.

In their first Gold Cup game, Panama got off to a big 3-0 lead against Guadaloupe, as veteran strikers Blas Perez and Luis Tejada combined brilliantly. However, they took their foot off the gas and allowed Guadaloupe to score twice with ten men. A highly inconsistent level of defensive effort isn't going to cut it against the United States, and it seems highly likely that if Panama took a lead against the United States, they wouldn't be so quick to let it go.

Panama are not a deep team and their defense is not spectacular, but their best player is a central defender. Felipe Baloy of Santos Laguna was one of the key cogs in that team's run to two Mexican Primera final appearances in the last three tournaments, and his physically imposing figure should cause problems for the American strikers.

It seems unlikely that Bob Bradley would make wholesale changes to his team after they looked solid against Canada, especially because most of the players that he selected are seemingly permanent fixtures in the team. The only change that seems like it might be coming is Juan Agudelo moving to the bench, either for Chris Wondolowski or for a midfielder, which would move Clint Dempsey into a second striker's role. Bradley could very well make no changes, and it would be shocking to see more than one or two.

Canada vs. Guadeloupe

Canada played like a team who knew they were inferior to the United States in the first game, as their midfielders backed off of the United States and Simeon Jackson was left isolated. Whether it be in either personnel or mentality, Stephen Hart needs to make changes to his side. It would be surprising to see the Canucks look so tame and passive against a Guadeloupe side that they have beat for talent. Look for Dwyane De Rosario and Josh Simpson to come out of their shells.

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